Tag Archives: ethnicity

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The History of Whiteness Is The History of Exclusion

From Salon:

“For whiteness to maintain its superiority, membership had to be strictly controlled. The “gift” of whiteness was bestowed on those who could afford it, or when it was politically expedient. In his book “How the Irish Became White,” Noel Ignatiev argues that Irish immigrants were incorporated into whiteness in order to suppress the economic competitiveness of free black workers and undermine efforts to unite low-wage black and Irish Americans into an economic bloc bent on unionizing labor. The aspiration to whiteness was exploited to politically and socially divide groups that had more similarities than differences. It was an apple dangled in front of working-class immigrant groups, often as a reward for subjugating other groups.

A lack of awareness of these facts has lent credence to the erroneous belief that whiteness is inherent and has always existed, either as an actual biological difference or as a cohesive social grouping. Some still claim it is natural for whites to gravitate to their own and that humans are tribal and predisposed to congregate with their kind. It’s easy, simple and natural: White people have always been white people. Thinking about racial identity is for those other people.

This comprehension of whiteness could also dissuade many white people of such detrimental and pervasive racial notions, such as, “Why is black pride OK but white pride is racist?” If students are taught that whiteness is based on a history of exclusion, they might easily see that there is nothing in the designation as “white” to be proud of.  Being proud of being white doesn’t mean finding your pale skin pretty or your Swedish history fascinating. It means being proud of the violent disenfranchisement of those barred from this category. Being proud of being black means being proud of surviving this ostracism. Be proud to be Scottish, Norwegian or French, but not white.”

Full article http://www.salon.com/2014/02/07/the_history_white_people_need_to_learn/

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5 Reasons Gay Asian Men Should Stop Dating White Guys

A friend pointed me to a blog called Angry Homosexual where a (presumably) asian gay man lists why gay asian men shouldn’t date white guys. I don’t agree with most of it and it seems awfully bitter but there’s a bit:

2. You’ll eventually get dumped for a younger, cuter Asian. White people invented the concept of leasing a car and trading it in when it’s old, and they’ve carried that concept over to their dating lives too. 97% of the time when you see an East-West (Asian-White) couple, it’s an older white guy with a substantially younger Asian. Because there are many more Asians seeking white guys than vice versa, white guys have plenty of choice, while potato-seeking Asians have to settle for whatever they can get. Usually, it’s an older, often chubbier white guy who, for all his shortcomings, is, well, white. Years down the road when you’re getting a bit long in the tooth, you can expect to be traded in for a younger, hotter Asian model, and there will be plenty of those to choose from.”

A lot of this point of view is treating the white guy like a prize to be won which inherently devalues the asian man in the equation. There’s a lot of bullshit in gay dating dynamics and when you add in race or ethnicity you get a whole new level of bullshit.

Read all five reasons http://angryhomosexual.com/5-reasons-gay-asians-should-give-up-potatoes/

Peforming Ethnicity

“…I spent a day agonizing over whether to wear glasses or not to a meeting I was attending for a gay organization where I was making a substantial accessibility proposal. I have pretty poor vision, but since my day job is in academia, I never wear glasses – because then I get weird whispering and comments about how smart Asians are, with the nasty implication that I only got my job and only get my grades due to my racial background. But in this circumstance, knowing my audience of gay, middle-aged white men – I was acutely aware of my appearance could easily be pigeonholed into that of a young Asian “twink” – and how easily that could potentially defeat my proposal.

“So I wore the glasses. It went well. Only one of the men made a pass at me by saying out loud to the board during the meeting, right in my face, how much he liked his Asian men to be aggressive. But otherwise my proposal was accepted.

“But this event made me realize how much tailoring my outfit and tailoring my appearance to even the smallest tweaks and ornaments has become just one of those every-day things that I do. I never really consciously picked up this skillset – I probably learned it from watching my parents, seamlessly blend from situation to situation by shedding clothes and picking up ornaments and signifiers like a chameleon changes colors to match its environment. Certain things signify humility. Certain things impart an aura of confidence. Of modernness, of tradition; of being western, of being eastern. Who is your audience? What rapport do you want to build? What messages are you sending?

“Sometimes I catch myself changing outfits multiple times a day as I move from place to place, environment to environment and audience to audience. I’ve never really considered this to be a fixation on fashion or anything – it’s just one of those things that you, as a person of color, have to do to survive in a culture that tends to be a little hostile to your existence. More so if you don’t blend properly.

“I don’t really mind the rules. In fact, I rather enjoy this skillset, if I may admit guiltily: I like being able to suddenly fit in anywhere I go with a sudden unbuttoning of the collar, loosening of a tie, switch of a belt. I know it’s not really fair, but it doesn’t matter because inequality and inequity is pretty much the polluted air that I breathe anyway – it’s always there as a nagging reminder of how much of an outsider I am, but in some respects, you learn not to notice the adaptations you’ve made to compensate after a while.

“Sometimes I try to explain this to my white friends, and they always tell me: fuck the rules! Why do you care what people think of you? You should just do whatever you want!

“I don’t know; maybe I should be angrier about it. But they don’t seem to get it. The $4.99 that I pay for a button-up shirt at the thrift store buys me more than just the shirt. It buys me job security; it buys me insurance from violence on the streets; it buys me some relief from the vicious gossip that goes around about me if I don’t show up with an appropriate appearance – one that straddles the line between following the rules and breaking them, a good minority, neither threatening nor a stereotype.”

A few extra dollars a month, a few hours spent shopping, a few extra loads of laundry. Even if it’s unfair, it’s not a big deal. Is this really the hill I want to die on?”

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